Stakes go up with multi-card Keno

Feb 17, 2009 5:06 PM
Cluster Keno by L. J. Zahm |

We received a few comments last week about the "cross-over" pattern 8-spot that proved successful for one of our readers, and the picture we ran illustrating what the pattern looks like.

Of course, the photo was of a winning game on a 20-card keno machine, but the pattern illustrated what the cross-over pattern looks like. But more about the 20-card game in a minute.

Getting back to the 8-spot pattern that our reader in Pahrump has had success with, one of my favorite keno bets is the 8-spot. Hitting 7-out-of-8 is the realistic goal because hitting a solid 8-spot at odds of 230,000-1 occurs five times less often than hitting a royal flush. It does occur, however, and it’s always a treat to see all 8 numbers fill in, as our reader has found out.

Conversely, the odds of catching seven numbers is only 6,200-1 (about six times more likely than catching a royal flush), yet its payoff of about 1,600-1 is double that of a royal flush. Nevertheless, catching 7-of-8 occurs quite frequently, even though the payoff with four nickels bet is only about $350.

Essentially, I mark four 8-spot cards that overlap. This usually consists of two adjoining columns, two 2x4 boxes above and below the center line or the eight "cross over" numbers: upper left four numbers with bottom right four and bottom left with upper right (sometimes called the stair-stepper pattern).

Now, getting back to 20-card keno, you can apply the same reasoning.

One variation to this plan of attack is a little more costly because you’re marking 20 cards and not just four. To wit: instead of marking an 8-spot with the top and bottom eight numbers, mark eight 7-spots within those two groups.

As you can imagine, the 20-card game lends itself to playing some interesting patterns that can be potentially lucrative.

In fact, that pattern has become one of my favorite – taking an 8-spot, such as a box or column, and filling it with eight 7-spots.

Hitting seven of the eight numbers pays a solid 7-spot plus a few 6-of-7 spots, and is nearly double the payoff of hitting 7-out-of-8 numbers. But the real kicker comes if you can get all eight numbers to hit, creating a payoff of eight solid 7-spots! With only one coin bet per card, the payoff is a healthy $2,800 or so. But if you have four coins bet per card, the payoff is a mind-numbing $11,500!

I actually experienced quite a spree involving the 20-card game and using such patterns. It started with two $11,000 jackpots on back-to-back days while playing nickel 20-card keno in a downtown casino.

Follow that up with 10 video keno jackpots averaging $1,900 apiece (catching the 7-spot for $1,400 plus the 6-spots).

Well, the slot manager at the downtown casino was so concerned that he pulled the Multi-Card Keno games from the floor, and asked IGT to evaluate whether there was some flaw in the system that allowed such fabulous jackpots.

After about 10 days, IGT reported that there was no flaw or glitch in the game’s software, and so the casino returned the games to the floor.

However, in order to prevent exposure to such big payoffs, the games returned without the nickel denomination – players are now only allowed to bet 1¢ and 2¢ games.

We all know that there’s a tremendous amount of luck involved when something like this happens. Then again, who’s to say that it couldn’t happen to another video keno player who’s willing to try something different?

Remember, it often takes a little courage to try something different. But the rewards can be worth it.